Meeting a first date at one of the Ninth Avenue bars in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen is an acceptable venue for any gay New Yorker, and it was perfectly conducive for my first date with Frank. We decided to meet at Industry, which has a fun and happening Happy Hour. When I spotted him at the bar, I was pleasantly surprised that he looked even better in person. Sharp dresser, nice brief case, and a very welcoming smile, Frank was definitely a happening mid-fifties guy.
We grabbed a drink and went to the couches on the side of the bar, allowing us to have a semi-quiet conversation. And what a conversation it was- it was as if I had known Frank for years. From home décor and DYI projects to shopping a great Lord and Taylor sale, we had a lot in common. We shared a lot of laughs, and there was definitely a spark.
The next topic on deck was music. Frank wanted to know my favorite concert of all time.
“That’s easy- definitely Prince and Sheila E.! Three of my fraternity brothers and I drove to Indianapolis to see them, and it was amazing. Gee, that must have been ‘85… maybe ’86.” I responded, taking a sip of my Heineken Light.
And then, as if a pack of beavers built a dam on my 1FineD8 River, the flow of our conversation came to an abrupt halt.
“Wait- you were in college in ’85?” asked a surprised Frank. “How old are you?”
“I just turned 49 this past July,” I responded. “I thought we covered the age thing in our pre-date conversation.”
“Oh. Guess not. I just assumed you were in your early 40’s,” said Frank. “ You don’t look that old in person.”
That old? I was a little puzzled by the point this fifty-plus man was trying to make.
“Well… thanks… I’m flattered you thought I was younger, but 49 really isn’t that old, you know.”
Frank didn’t respond.
The conversation continued, but with a very different tone. Thanks to my coming out as a 49-year old man, the spark was out and cold to the touch. I forgot what led to Frank making the following comment, but it was like an announcement from the Emergency Broadcast System telling me to evacuate the date.
“Guys our age like to date younger.”
I didn’t even need a second to respond.
“Totally disagree, Frank. I want to be able to have a conversation with a date about 1985 and get a spark of recollection in return. I don’t want to be a history teacher, even to a cute 27-year old”.
With that, the date was over. I went my way, and I assume Frank went off in his “One Direction”.
Sean Connery is so timeless that his portrayal of James Bond started in 1962 with Dr. No, and ended in 1983 with Never Say Never Again. He was 53 when he last played James Bond. He was almost 60 when he was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. Sean Connery is living proof that sexy can be achieved at any age. I think Frank somehow missed this memo, and it seems likely he would have said “no” to James Bond.
I fully admit that I liked Frank. He was cute, smart and funny- and the right age for me. I would have easily asked for a second date based on how the first part of our first date went. The challenge was that I was the only ticket holder for the 2ndFineD8.
Sometimes, our date says “No”. They might not come right out and say the word, but they will drop the clue that a second date isn’t going to happen.
Guess what? That’s OK.
The sooner we accept that we are not going to be everyone’s flavor, the sooner we can brush off the defeat and move on to the next round. Some dates may not like your sense of style, and some may not like your profession. Some dates may not appreciate your sense of humor, your age, and may simply say that you’re not their “type”. Regardless of the reason, it’s not a fine date if the spark is one-sided. We all deserve a date, and eventually a relationship, where there are so many sparks from every angle that you both have no idea which one actually set the fire.
Again, it’s OK if you hear a “no”. Being on the receiving end of a no is never the way we want to end our evening, but once we come to terms that this might happen, the sooner we can bounce back and be on to the next dating adventure. Before you know it, you’ll be on that fine date where the only “no” you hear is “I want to get to “know” you better!”.